Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang recently responded to an emotional Reddit story from someone who claims to be a former “alt-right” supporter. Although the story is anonymous and unverified and could very well be fake, it nevertheless highlighted the possibility that the openness of the 44-year-old serial entrepreneur’s campaign — which welcomes people of all political leanings — is having some unforeseeable effects on people.
The user, who claims to be a Caucasian male of European descent, said he previously fell into toxic 4chan and Reddit communities that pushed him to works from Adolf Hitler, as well as the ultranationalistic and anti-semitic Corneliu Zelea Codreanu.
“I was present at the Charlottesville rally. I felt no remorse when I heard a woman had been killed. Today, I know her name was Heather Heyer,” he wrote, referring to the Unite the Right rally that leads to Heyer’s death, as well as the death of two state troopers via a helicopter crash.
The user claims that displeasure with Donald Trump pushed him to Yang, who was initially appealing for the one reason — his signature proposal of a universal basic income (UBI) of $1,000 per month for every American.
“The idea was, if even our best chance was going to be a failure, we may as well get a thousand bucks a month while we watch the country descend into chaos.”
Nevada is ground zero for the automation of jobs - and the people here know it. It’s why we are going to win here. pic.twitter.com/1jMuV3SYuQ— Andrew Yang???? (@AndrewYang) October 26, 2019
From here, the user claims he began following Yang on social media, watching interviews, and eventually attending rallies. He called the Democratic presidential candidate “charismatic” and said he felt that Yang cared about the issues of his campaign. After the user saw the benefit he believed Yang’s policies would create for him and his loved ones, he suggested that it triggered feelings of empathy for others.
“I don’t know why, but seeing the benefit to myself in such a dramatic manner just triggered some otherworldly type of empathy within me,” he wrote, adding that he realized the benefits for his life would do so to a much greater degree for others in even more stressful situations.
Yang responded on Twitter with positive words to the user that shared the story with him.
“Wow. Thank you for sharing. There is hope within us all,” he tweeted.
Whether the story is true or not, Yang’s campaign has often focused on unity as opposed to division. He highlights the “mindset of scarcity” that is purportedly pitting people in the United States against one another and suggests that his campaign’s UBI is a potential solution — or at least, something that will start paving the way forward to a more sustainable economy.